Tuesday, October 7

Three worth a read

Using Video Games as Bait to Hook Readers
Doubtful teachers and literacy experts question how effective it is to use an overwhelmingly visual medium to connect youngsters to the written word. They suggest that while a handful of players might be motivated to pick up a book, many more will skip the text and go straight to the game. Others suggest that video games detract from the experience of being wholly immersed in a book.
Agreed. Gaming is an alternative to reading; a diversion from it, not a gateway to it. There is no doubt that the skills gaming can teach, like critical thinking, media literacy, strategery, salty snackery and hermitishness, can be valuable in life, but reading is reading.

The Swedes have no clue about American literature
As long as America could still be regarded as Europe's backwater—as long as a poet like T.S. Eliot had to leave America for England in order to become famous enough to win the Nobel—it was easy to give American literature the occasional pat on the head. But now that the situation is reversed, and it is Europe that looks culturally, economically, and politically dependent on the United States, European pride can be assuaged only by pretending that American literature doesn't exist. When Engdahl declares, "You can't get away from the fact that Europe still is the center of the literary world," there is a poignant echo of Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard insisting that she is still big, it's the pictures that got smaller.
Amen. Suck on it Sweden. And there's more! "Unless and until Roth gets the Nobel Prize, there's no reason for Americans to pay attention to any insults from the Swedes." You hear that Björn Borg, no longer shall you deride my backhand. At least not until Roth gets his Nobel.

The Ambition of the Short Story
Modest in its pretensions, shyly proud of its petite virtues, a trifle anxious in relation to its brash rival, it contents itself with sitting back and letting the novel take on the big world. And yet, and yet. That modest pose — am I mistaken, or is it a little overdone? Those glancing-away looks — do they contain a touch of slyness? Can it be that the little short story dares to have ambitions of its own? If so, it will never admit them openly, because of a sharp instinct for self-protection, a long habit of secrecy bred by oppression. In a world ruled by swaggering novels, smallness has learned to make its way cautiously.
The ambition of the essay? Still at large. Zzzzzzzz. You're better than this, Millhauser.

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